63 Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; 64they also blindfolded him and kept asking him, ‘Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?’ 65They kept heaping many other insults on him.
66 When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council. 67They said, ‘If you are the Messiah, tell us.’ He replied, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe; 68and if I question you, you will not answer. 69But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.’ 70All of them asked, ‘Are you, then, the Son of God?’ He said to them, ‘You say that I am.’ 71Then they said, ‘What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!’
While Peter denies Jesus in the courtyard, Jesus himself is in the hall of the high priest, Caiaphas’ house. Those who are holding him mock and beat him – these soldiers, temple police, and servants of the high priest, mock him in ways that throw aspersions on his religious claims – they say he claims to be a prophet, then he should know who it was that struck him, although he is blindfolded.
This aspersion of Jesus’ prophetic abilities stands in contrast to what Luke has just shown us, as Jesus’ prophetic abilities are clear at the last supper and in the story of Peter. Jesus clearly knew what was about to happen in the garden, and in Peter’s denial of him.
In other gospels, the trial before the Sanhedrin (the assembly of the elders) takes place at night, at Caiaphas’ house. That would have been highly unusual, although it might have been done to avoid the crowd the religious leaders had feared all week. But Luke says they waited until morning came to gather the Sanhedrin, and then they held the religious trial. They ask Jesus if he is the Messiah – in his usual way, Jesus skirts the question – “If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” “Son of Man” is a title for the Messiah taken from Daniel and other prophets – when the Messiah has been rejected and humiliated, he will be taken up to heaven to sit at the right hand of God. They ask again, “Are you, then, the Son of God?” And Jesus replies, “You say that I am.” They have recognized who Jesus is, even when his followers had not understood. Saying it, and then denying what they have said, the religious leaders are furious. They say that Jesus’ own words have convicted him of blasphemy.
In the ruins of what was likely the home of the high priest, Caiaphas, archeologists found a dungeon. Today, you can walk down into this small dark room and feel an awe – was this where Jesus was held during those hours between his arrest and ridicule and the morning?